Festival of Ageing at GCU in May

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 08:16:00 GMT
From left: Dr Lesley Sawyers, Christina McKelvie and Professor Pamela Gillies CBE.
From left: Dr Lesley Sawyers, Christina McKelvie and Professor Pamela Gillies CBE.

Scotland should strive to be the most "age-friendly" society in Europe as it grapples with a growing demographic time bomb, the Scottish Government's Minister for Older People told an invited audience at GCU.

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie was speaking at the launch of the EngAGE Conference and Festival of Ageing, which will comprise a conference and separate public event held on campus on Thursday, May 23.  The Minister said the elderly can serve as a "shining light" for younger generations and welcomed the event as an opportunity to explore how our increasingly elderly population and workforce can be turned into an opportunity for the country as a whole.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE said she is delighted the University is part of the partnership delivering this unique event, which is the first of its kind in the country.

She said: "We all learn for life and we've got to make sure that our elderly population can still contribute to society. They need to be active physically, they need to be mentally stimulated and they need to be financially healthy as well. We know technology can help older people engage if they can get to grips with it. Our University has the expertise to deliver across these areas and we have a commitment to promoting an 'asset' approach to ageing."

The EngAGE Conference is the brainchild of Dr Lesley Sawers, the Director of the research consultancy GenAnalytics and who formerly held a business development role at the University.

She has formed a partnership with The Herald to deliver the event in association with The Scottish Government, NTT Data and the University. 

Dr Sawers, who is also Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, said: "The important part for us is about putting people at the centre of ageing and making sure that we adopt a rights-based approach, and that we start to create a future not just for those who are older now but for generations to come."

The EngAGE conference is being held within the Hamish Wood building and will take a 'festival' approach. It will run alongside a public event within the Saltire Centre which will showcase activities to promote wellbeing for the over 50s, including aspects of the research and healthcare training activities at GCU.